“Ok, Google”: How can I achieve voice search optimization?
Speech recognition, an innovation that seemed like a thing of the future is actually infiltrating the present-day world of business. You might have heard the postulations. ‘Voice search will revolutionize the dynamics of search’. ‘Using voice search is becoming second nature’.
If you think it’s too early to think about voice search, let’s do a quick verification check.
- Almost 1/3rd of 3.5 billion searches performed on Google every day are voice searches
- 61% of 25-64-year-olds say they’ll use voice search more actively in the future.
Not only is voice search technology coming on strong, but it is changing user relationships to search engines. The technology is quickly accelerating, continuously topping up features in the digital framework. Slowly but surely, it is becoming the go-to search option for users everywhere.
A revolution indeed.
For any business that wants to stay relevant, it is important to be aware of the shifting market expectations and to adapt accordingly.
The one-size-fits-all approach to optimization is no longer going to cut it.
Don’t worry – you are in safe hands; in this article, we’ll go over the best tips for tapping into voice search.
What is Voice Search?
Over a decade of traditionally interacting with search engines, we have learned to express our inquiries in a succinct few words to bring about the answers we need.
Voice search is a technology that enables users to search the web by spoken voice commands as opposed to typing into the search bar. The algorithm deciphers the user’s speech, searches based on the query and presents the relevant information.
At its core, voice search is a solution designed to satiate our desire to search queries easily and more conveniently.
A key difference is in the way the user structures their search. As opposed to text-only search, spoken language connects people to what they are searching for with an intimacy that is exclusive to this model.
Another difference is that in voice search, the window for visibility is miniscule. The SERP shows only the top 3 results when asked on mobile, a mere 1 when asked through smart speakers. One Result to rule them all; achieving top rank has never been more important. If you aren’t at the top, do you even exist?
How Does Voice Search Impact SEO?
Voice search drastically enhances user experience. On digital assistants, users are able to browse the web and collect the information they need without actually having to scroll endlessly on a screen.
With its prolific adoption in recent times, Google is placing higher emphasis on it.
There’s no wonder – ultimately, user experience is at the forefront of SEO.
The global movement of voice search is expected to continue on the rise of marketing trends in the coming years. Moving forward, brands will have to regularly refine their voice SEO efforts to attract the most possible inbound traffic to their website and pave the way for substantial business growth.
As the nature of search becomes more conversational, machine-based learning and AI are growing smarter, building on past search queries and analyzing available data signals, to get to a closer understanding of user intent and context.
Digital assistants today are taking measures to better help users take actions by understanding the behavior and intent through voice input data.
It has begun to make predictions, based on users’ behavior preferences and patterns, to anticipate what the upcoming needs may be.
Understanding the nuances between regular SEO and VEO (voice engine optimization – as coined by Chatmeter) can help discern intent and ensure that your website has the right content to serve voice search queries.
So, let’s look at the ways to optimize for voice search so your customers can find you.
Savvy marketers that wish to adapt to customers searching in voice should write in a natural, conversational way.
Users unconsciously change the way they search using voice.
Say that you are searching for open restaurants in Dubai.
In typing, you might search “best brunch in Dubai”
In voice search, your behavior is more human, so to speak; you ask a question as though you pose it to a friend, “What restaurant has the best brunch in Dubai?”
What does that tell us?
Drop the terse, awkward keywords. Don’t be too formal, don’t go for posh, sophisticated terms that are not likely to be used in day-to-day language.
In the era of voice search, it is about semantics and building the context that is related to answering a question. In order for the algorithm to consider you, opt for human language, rather than your usual content optimized for web crawlers only.
Voice search is 3x more likely to be local in nature – according to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report.
With this in mind, you should clearly communicate your NAP: name, address, place on your website and optimize your GMB listing in preparation for the immensely valuable “near me” searchers in your area that are actively looking out for you.
Ensure that your profile, including opening hours, location and contact information, is up to date and consistent on all platforms.
Understand the intent
Voice search is heavily reliant on users framing their search in the form of a question.
We tend to use question phrases that start with [who, what, why, where, when, how] naturally when performing searches.
It is important to recognize the intent of the question-based queries to anticipate the context. That way you, in collaboration with the search engine, can deliver accurate results by fleshing out content in a question and answer format targeted to voice search queries.
One of the best ways is to preemptively answer questions your users may have.
Putting yourself in place of a prospective customer makes this easier.
You may want to consider the following:
What questions do your customers usually have about what you do?
What information is necessary to relay over to your customers so that they can make an informed decision?
What is your USP? is it shining through your content?
Consider publishing a dedicated FAQ page on your website dedicated to the questions you receive the most so you can draw your market in at their time of need. Better yet, create quality blogs containing authority content surrounding those queries.
When your content answers the queries effectively and usefully, you can expect Google to take note of it and rank your website accordingly.
Your content and paid search should expand to include long-tail keyword lists; as we have seen, queries searched by voice tend to be longer due to the conversational approach by the user. We are more naturally descriptive when we speak.
Make use of long-tail keywords in order to improve visibility and the likelihood of conversion.
With that being said, a type-search keyword like “best digital marketing company near me”, in voice search could sound like “what is the best digital marketing company near me that offers the best SEO services?”
“Thanks to mobile, micro-moments can happen anytime, anywhere.” – Google.
In those moments on mobile, users expect brands to address their needs in real-time with immediate, relevant and ready-to-use information.
According to Google, micro-moments are key to taking advantage of voice search.
In order for a mobile site to service someone during a micro-moment, it has to be easy to navigate, load quickly, be user-friendly and responsive.
It is a well-known fact, Google is always going to prioritize websites that are fit for mobile.
Taken together, those are the most significant ranking factors, especially if you’re aiming for position zero.
Optimize your images, compress your files, bring your response time down to a minimum.
With the changing nature of search and the ongoing evolution of search algorithms, brands have got to move in tandem with the wind of change in order to stay relevant and competitive. With all the knowledge of the full marketing potential of voice search and while it is not yet as saturated a platform as traditional search, now is the perfect time to hop on the voice train. If you adopt it now, you will likely be ahead of your competition and see the fruits of your labor in strong rankings that will let your brand grow in the long-term.
It is no secret that we are witnessing a voice search revolution.
To adapt and thrive in the new online context, you have got to split your efforts between traditional SEO and Voice Search Optimization. Investing in this medium is shown to improve brand awareness, conversions and revenue.
In the movie Her, the actor Joaquin Pheonix plays a lonely guy who falls in love with his AI digital assistant, allegedly because she knows him better than anyone.
Perhaps that scenario is not too far-fetched after all.